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Maintaining the shine of your African painting: Tips and techniques


African art, beautifully characterized by its vibrant colors, detailed patterns and iconic symbols , is much more than just an artistic expression. It is the mirror of a civilization rich in stories, traditions and values. With each brush or texture, African artists do not just reproduce images; they infuse their works with the passion, emotion and soul of the continent itself. If you have the honor of owning an African painting, you will understand that its value far exceeds its aesthetic aspect. Indeed, each painting is a living fragment of African culture, carrying within it the stories, dreams and hopes of a nation or a tribe. However, just like a precious gem that must be cherished and protected, an African painting, despite its apparent robustness, requires meticulous attention and care to maintain its brilliance and vibrancy over the years. So how can we ensure that this piece of art, which transcends time and space, continues to shine in all its brilliance? In the following sections, we will reveal a series of tips and strategies to ensure the longevity and splendor of your African masterpiece.

1. Protect your board from direct sunlight

Light, although vital in highlighting the beauty of a work of art, can, in the long run, become the silent enemy of your precious African painting. The energy-carrying ultraviolet rays of the sun have the power to penetrate deep into the pigments, not only causing discoloration but also altering the very integrity of the work. The intensity of vibrant colors, the depth of blacks, and the purity of whites can all be compromised by overexposure to direct sunlight.

Imagine, for example, a magnificent painting representing an African landscape at dusk, where the flamboyant red of the sky contrasts with the dark silhouette of a baobab tree. Now imagine that red fading and losing its intensity over the years due to UV rays, turning that bright twilight into a simple end to the day. Sad, isn't it?

To preserve color integrity and vibrancy, it is crucial to place your painting in a location where natural light is filtered, avoiding direct exposure. If your room benefits from lots of natural light, opt for curtains or blinds that filter the light without completely obscuring it. In addition, the market today offers innovative solutions such as anti-UV glazing, specially designed to filter harmful rays, or even frames equipped with protective glass. These investments, although they may seem expensive at first, will ensure that every detail, every color of your African painting , continues to shine with the same brilliance as the day you acquired it.


2. Pay attention to humidity and temperature

The environment in which an African painting is preserved is fundamental to guarantee its longevity. Indeed, works of art are sensitive to atmospheric conditions, and an African painting, with its often natural and organic materials, is no exception to this rule.

Humidity, in particular, is a feared enemy of art lovers. Water in the air can seep into the fabric fibers, causing them to swell. This excessive humidity can not only cause deformations on the canvas, but also encourage the appearance of mold which degrades pigments and materials. The consequences of such degradation can be irreversible, transforming a living, vibrant work into a mere shadow of its former glory.

On the other hand, temperature also plays a crucial role in the preservation of a painting. Heat sources, whether radiators, fireplaces or even light spots, can induce temperature variations which, in turn, can tighten or loosen the fabric. These constant fluctuations can cause cracks in the surface of the painting or distort the structure of the canvas itself.

It is therefore essential to pay attention to the location of your African painting. Avoid hanging in areas prone to moisture accumulation, such as basements, kitchens or bathrooms. Instead, opt for ventilated rooms, where air circulates freely. If you live in a particularly humid area, consider using a dehumidifier to maintain optimal humidity levels. As for the temperature, a location away from direct heat sources and in a room where the temperature is stable and moderate will be ideal. This will ensure that your African painting remains a source of admiration for generations to come.

3. Clean gently

Maintaining the cleanliness of an African painting is essential not only for its presentation but also for its long-term preservation. Dust, particles and air pollutants can build up on a painting's surface over time, creating a dull haze that hides the brilliance and vibrancy of the colors. Additionally, these particles can also chemically interact with paint pigments, accelerating their degradation.

However, it is crucial to approach the cleaning task with care. To begin, use a soft-bristled brush, ideally an artist-quality brush. Using slow, smooth, delicate movements, sweep the surface of the board, starting at the top and working downward. This will remove most of the dust without risking scratching or damaging the paint.

In case of more stubborn dirt or small stains, a microfiber cloth can be your ally. These cloths are specially designed to catch and retain dust and particles, without leaving any residue. In addition, their soft texture minimizes the risk of scratches.

It's tempting to resort to liquid solutions or chemicals to clean stains, but it's imperative to resist the urge. These products, even those that appear harmless, can react with pigments, binders or other materials in the painting, causing discoloration, staining or even deterioration of the support.

In cases of persistent dirt or major damage, it is best to consult a professional art restorer. These experts have the know-how and tools necessary to safely clean and restore works of art.


4. Frame carefully

Framing an African painting is a crucial step that transcends the simple visual enhancement of the work. Indeed, a well-designed frame plays an essential protective role, preserving the room from external threats while accentuating its intrinsic beauty.

A high-quality frame is often made from durable, hard-wearing materials that not only complement the aesthetic of your painting, but also provide sturdy protection against the elements. It's best to invest in a sturdy frame that won't warp over time and will hold the canvas firmly in place.

The choice of glass is just as crucial. Reflections can obscure the view of the work and alter the perception of colors. This is why it is recommended to opt for anti-reflective glass, which will reduce annoying reflections and allow a clear, unobstructed view of the painting. Additionally, given the potential harmful effects of ultraviolet rays on pigments, UV-protective glass is essential. It will filter out these dangerous rays, preserving the intensity and vibrancy of the colors in your work.

The rear of the frame is often overlooked, but it deserves special attention. A sealed back will prevent dust particles, insects and other potential contaminants from seeping in and damaging the canvas. Make sure the back is sealed tightly, with materials that will not damage the canvas or release harmful chemicals.

Finally, when framing, it may be wise to speak with a specialist or professional framer. Their expertise can guide you in choosing the appropriate materials, styles and framing techniques to ensure both the security and optimal display of your African painting. A well-framed work of art is not only a marvel to behold, but it also ensures the longevity and preservation of this precious piece for future generations.

5. Transport with care

Transporting a work of art, especially one as precious and delicate as an African painting, requires special attention and meticulous preparation. Indeed, movements, vibrations, even unsuitable environmental conditions can compromise the integrity and beauty of your canvas.

Before even considering moving your painting, it is essential to take it down carefully, avoiding any excessive pressure on the painted surface. If possible, enlist another person to help you to ensure safe handling of the work.

Once unhooked, wrap the painting in tissue paper or acid-free paper. This first level of protection avoids direct contact of the painting with other materials and protects the painted surface from potential scratches. After this step, bubble wrap comes into play. Wrap the board generously, making sure the corners and edges are well protected. The bubble wrap will absorb shocks and protect the board from possible impacts during transport.

When packaging, also consider using a box or rigid cardboard appropriate for the size of the painting. This provides an additional layer of protection against possible pressure or mechanical stress.

If you are transporting multiple pieces of art at once, be especially careful about their arrangement. Avoid placing paintings face to face at all costs, as the canvases may rub against each other, potentially damaging the paintings. Use dividers, like pieces of cardboard, to keep them separated.

Finally, during the actual transport, make sure that your African painting is placed in a place where it is not likely to tip over, slide or be crushed. If using a vehicle, position the artwork flat, ideally supported by other stable objects, and not upright or tilted.

Each African painting is unique and embodies a part of the cultural soul of the continent. Ensuring safe transportation is essential to preserving this work of art for future generations.


6. Insure your work

Each African painting, beyond its captivating aesthetics and visual splendor, is a precious testimony to the culture and history of the African continent. This heritage, which you have chosen to own, not only represents a financial investment, but it also contains an invaluable emotional and cultural dimension.

Faced with the fragility of the existence of a work of art and the vagaries of life - whether natural disasters, domestic incidents, theft or even accidental damage - it is essential to protect this heritage. Insuring your African painting is therefore a step that is not only prudent but also respectful of its intrinsic value.

When you decide to insure your painting, start by getting a professional assessment of its value in today's market. This will allow you to obtain coverage adapted to its real value. Also find out about the specifics of insurance policies for works of art. Some offer broader coverage, including for example damage during transport or when loaning to exhibitions.

For those looking to enrich their collection with authentic and quality African paintings, we highly recommend visiting an impressive collection of African paintings .

Conclusion :

Each work of art originating from Africa is not simply a visual representation, but also a profound and valuable testimony to the immense cultural, historical and artistic wealth of the vast African continent. These paintings, imbued with traditions, meanings and emotions, tell stories, myths, and convey profound messages from their place of origin. They are not simply decorative objects, but true treasures that deserve our respect, our admiration and above all, our meticulous attention. By caring for these pieces, we not only preserve their original luster and intrinsic beauty, but we also ensure that they continue to bring a touch of enchantment, mystery and authenticity to our everyday surroundings. When you follow preservation tips, you not only maintain the quality of your painting; you also ensure that it continues to shine, impress and inspire, echoing the richness of the land from which it comes, for future generations.

You will also like to read: Buying guide 2023: Where and how to buy authentic African paintings

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